Australia Aims to Avert Port Strike

Posted by Joseph Keefe
Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Teekay Shipping took part in Australian government-sponsored mediation talks on Tuesday to avert industrial action by tugboat operators that could halt a quarter of global seaborne iron ore exports.

There were no immediate comments on any outcome from the talks. BHP Billiton has previously warned that a strike by tugboat operators at Port Hedland on the Indian Ocean could cost up to $100 million in lost revenue each day.

Deckhands, engineers and masters of the tugboats that guide vessels in and out of the port are pressing operator Teekay Shipping for more pay and leave.

Deckhands, represented by the Maritime Union of Australia, last week approved plans to strike for one, two or seven days but have yet to decide whether to stop work. Any strike by them would have to take place by June 11.

Teekay and the union had mediation talks on Tuesday held by Australia's industrial tribunal, the Fair Work Commission. A second round is due to take place in June.

If there is no resolution, one way the government could halt a strike by arguing the action would hurt Australia's economy.

Teekay could look at replacing deckhands with non-union workers, but people familiar with the issue said a lack of trained replacements would rule that out.

"We want to ensure the dispute does not impact our day-to-day operations and we are reviewing all options available to us to mitigate any potential impact on our business going forward," Fortescue Metals Group Chief Executive Nev Power said in a statement.

He did not elaborate but Fortescue is within its rights to ask the Fair Work Commission to stop the strike as a third party facing damages.

Iron ore is Australia's biggest export earner. The value of exports are forecast to climb 35 percent to A$76.8 billion ($71.80 billion)in the year to June 2014 from a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics.

BHP has already warned that a strike would cost $100 million in lost sales a day, based on exports running at around 1.1 million tonnes a day at a price around $100 a tonne.

"BHP's broadcasting its position to obtain support from other stakeholders, so they could seek an order for suspending or terminating protected industrial action in a case where significant economic damage is being inflicted on the Australian economy," said Tim Greenall, counsel at law firm Madgwicks.

The government is so far monitoring the situation.

"At this stage we're just hopeful both parties can reach an agreement," said David Allender, a spokesman for Employment Minister Senator Eric Abetz.

The deck hands have been the first to back strike action.

The engineers, represented by the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers, are voting on a plan to strike for up to two days, with the ballot result due on June 10. Tugboat captains, represented by the Australian Maritime Officers Union, hold a ballot due on May 30.

All crews work 28 days on, then get 28 days off. The deckhands want four weeks of leave on top of that and are pressing for pay equivalent to 70 percent of the A$220,000 that masters earn, up from A$135,000 a year.

 

Reporting by Sonali Paul

Maritime Reporter June 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

ICC Appoints Ximena Tapias Delporte as Vice-Chair

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Ximena Tapias Delporte as Vice-Chair of the ICC Commission on Marketing and Advertising.

Russian Navy Expansion Gathers Momentum

The Russian Navy celebrates its professional holiday by putting two new submarines into service and expects a new warship in the fall and several additional ships

Search for Flight MH370: Update

Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) says that a bathymetric survey of the 60,000km2 search area is well underway, with two vessels, the Australian-contracted

Legal

Tanker with Iraqi Kurdish Oil Anchors off Texas Port

A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan was anchored near the Port of Galveston, Texas, and must undergo a routine safety inspection by the U.S. Coast

Panama's Alfonso Castillero Moves to Liberian Registry

The Liberian Registry informs that Alfonso Castillero, former Director-General of the Panama Registry, has joined their organization as Vice-President. Castillero

BV Group Launches Maritime Pilot Phase

Bureau Veritas Group Launched Maritime Pilot Phase for its Single Window for Foreign Trade in Togo. The ceremony took place in Lomé, under the patronage of the President of the Republic,

Bulk Carrier Trends

Star Bulk Takes Delivery of First Capesize from JMU

Athens, Greece-headquartered Star Bulk Carriers says it has taken delivery of 'M/V Peloreus' a 182,000 dwt Capesize built by Japan Marine United (“JMU”) and the

China Issues New Rules on US DDG Imports

China's Import Inspection Authority, AQSIQ, is now requiring U.S. distiller's dried grains imports to be officially certified free of the MIR 162 GMO trait, the U.

Freeport Says Indonesia Exports Could Resume Soon

Freeport-McMoRan Inc said on Wednesday it expects to "imminently" sign an agreement with Indonesia that would enable it to immediately resume copper concentrate

Ports

Intelligent grabbing technology SmartGrip by Liebherr

For the mobile harbour crane range Liebherr has developed an intelligent system which optimises grab filling rates in a self-learning manner. In a comprehensive study,

Offshore Installation at Lerwick

A large steel oil storage tank to be installed west of Shetland as part of Premier’s development of the Solan field has arrived in Lerwick onboard a heavy-transport vessel Xiang Yun Kou,

Clacton to Holland-on-Sea Coastal Defence Scheme

A major £36 million coastal defence scheme from Clacton Pier to Holland Haven is to get underway this week. The first phase of works will begin with demolishing

People in the News

Panama's Alfonso Castillero Moves to Liberian Registry

The Liberian Registry informs that Alfonso Castillero, former Director-General of the Panama Registry, has joined their organization as Vice-President. Castillero

Costa Concordia Arrives Genoa for Demolition

Crowley Maritime Corp. subsidiary TITAN Salvage and project partner Micoperi has confirmed that the Costa Concordia – the Concordia-class cruise ship that wrecked off Giglio Island,

Danish Bunker Trader Joins GAC in London

GAC Bunker Fuels says it has appointed former GAC Denmark Shipping Assistant Ida Ryberg as a Bunker Trader with its UK team. Ryberg joins Andy Boichat and Resham

Government Update

Russian Navy Expansion Gathers Momentum

The Russian Navy celebrates its professional holiday by putting two new submarines into service and expects a new warship in the fall and several additional ships

Search for Flight MH370: Update

Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) says that a bathymetric survey of the 60,000km2 search area is well underway, with two vessels, the Australian-contracted

Cause of S.Korea Ferry Businessman's Death Remains Unknown

Yoo's body too badly decomposed to determine cause of death; mystery surrounding final days of de-factor owner of doomed ferry deepens. Yoo's son arrested in latest capture of family members.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Standards Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1073 sec (9 req/sec)